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What does it take to hold a Brave Conversation?

The guest contributor to this Question of the Moment is Lesley Roberts, a close associate of FGC and who runs BraveConversations.

What indeed what is a Brave Conversation? I have a very opinionated neighbour, one who would think nothing of knocking on my door and telling me what she thought and I have a husband who does not like confrontation and would not return a sandwich in a café if it had mould on it. What is Brave to one person may be water off a duck’s back to someone else. For me, a Brave Conversation is whatever you feel moved to say something about, yet, the thought of it makes your knees knock or your stomach feel anxious.

I felt compelled to have a Brave Conversation not long ago, whilst doing some diagnostic work with an organisation. I was in conversation with the CEO, and it became clear that the issue I had been asked to support the client with, was in part, due to the developmental needs of the CEO. I believe that most of the senior team in the organisation recognised his behaviour but no one was having the conversation with him. It was my turn for that Brave Conversation. I knew it was the right thing to do (1) but at the same time I was concerned about how the CEO would react (and commercially about the possibility of me losing the work). I played through a number of scenarios in my head and no matter how I looked at it I knew that if I was to be true to my purpose of ‘unlocking others potential’ (1), then I had no choice but to have the conversation and let go of being liked (2). But the question remained; could I do it?

I took a deep breath (5); ‘In what way are you responsible for the current situation? ‘What has been your role in this?’ (another deep breath, even deeper this time) - ‘Are you bullying your direct reports?’, ‘What do you see as your responsibility in helping improve the situation?’ Thankfully I didn’t get thrown out of the office (3), instead, the CEO took his time, answered each question and in the end said; “I have been part of creating this situation haven’t I, and I have a responsibility to change my approach”.

Phew, it took a degree of bravery and reminding myself that I wanted to be proud of how I handled the situation (6), in order for me to do what I felt was right but I am so pleased I did: the outcome was worth it for him, for me and for the team.

If you want to hold more Brave Conversations and cut through your own self talk that gets in the way - use our guide to support yourself to step forward bravely and say what needs to be said.

1 Do what you believe is the right thing. Be true to your purpose / your values

2 Let go of being liked

3 Weigh up the risks – how bad could it be?

4 Who is your role model, the evoked companion

5 Take a deep breath

6 Be proud of yourself, your choices and actions

What Brave Conversation are waiting for you to have?

To find out more about Lesley’s work



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